CNN’s Don Lemon has been known to utter words that negatively challenge the stream of consciousness of viewers and he continued that tradition while interviewing Cosby rape accuser Joan Tarshis.
Tarshis who alleges that Cosby raped her in 1969, had the unfortunate pleasure of being grilled by Lemon and as expected he didn’t disappoint when it came to posing his version of hard-hitting questions.
For those who are keeping up with all the chaos and mayhem – Tarshis detailed her ordeal by describing how Cosby drugged her and then forced her to perform oral sex. This piece of information proved to be an issue of fascination for Lemon who immediately delved into the slices with arrogant precision.
His line of questioning turned into a script from an adult entertainment casting office. His bullying tactics have never been widely acclaimed mainly due to his irritating façade which streams through his pompous nature. He has already summed up his opinion even before his subject arrives. And this was another instance when the interviewee practically didn’t stand a chance.
Tarshis was put on the spot in a way that was unprofessional and simply unkind. Lemon prompted her about the night Cosby forced her to perform oral sex, and as if relieving that wasn’t punishment enough, he decides to chide her for not having the common sense to use her teeth as a weapon in order to extract herself from the situation.
LEMON: Can I ask you this, because — and please, I don’t mean to be crude, OK?
LEMON: Because I know some of you — and you said this last night, that he — you lied to him and said, “I have an infection, and if you rape me, or if you do — if you have intercourse with me, then you will probably get it and give it to your wife.”
LEMON: And you said he made you perform oral sex.
LEMON: You — you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.
TARSHIS: Oh. Um, I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have.
LEMON: Right. Meaning the using of the teeth, right?
TARSHIS: Yes, that’s what I’m thinking you’re —
LEMON: As a weapon.
TARSHIS: Yeah, I didn’t even think of it.
LEMON: Biting. So, um —
LEMON: Yes. I had to ask. I mean, it is, yeah.
TARSHIS: Yes. No, it didn’t cross my mind.
Tarshis was noticeably shaken and nervously admitted that she had never considered that an option mainly because she was under the influence of drugs. How is it even remotely acceptable that Lemon can use his position to threaten the emotional well-being of a guest on his show? And when did it become okay to use a public forum to force victims of abuse to explain why they were incapable of defending themselves?
Furthermore – any victim of abuse will tell you that recalling the events as they transpired is an exhaustively torturous ride that shakes you to the core every time you enter that space. If Tarshis is telling the truth about what happened to her, the mere fact that she is sharing her story should be lauded as an act of bravery. Especially when you consider the high-profile status of the person she is accusing of doing the unthinkable.
Clearly Lemon has his doubts and he is entitled to that, however it is highly irresponsible of him to subject this woman to a humiliating conversation that revolves around her inability to diligently avoid what must have been a harrowing experience.
As a woman I am appalled and irate. Victims of abuse typically do feel levels of regret that force them to believe that somehow they encouraged their fate. What Lemon did to Tarshis was bully-shame her into owning up to something that is outrageously misleading an ultimately damaging.
Lemon was completely out of line not to mention thoughtless and unnervingly sarcastic – traits that he has unerringly adhered to even though they do very little to validate his shabby character.
To all the victims who have endured some form of sexual manipulation against their will – Hopefully you will not allow this latest fiasco to derail your cause or your need to be heard. You deserve to be vindicated, without any judgments levied upon you.
Continue the fight for survival and leave the mockery to the immaculately shrouded cowards.
Watch the exchange below: